EP0075: Brandon Metcalf – Cash & Burn: The Highs and Lows of SaaS Entrepreneurship

In our SaaS Fuel™ Founder Episode this week, we take a deep dive into the world of SaaS organizations and discuss the significance of accurate financial forecasting and effective cash flow management. Jeff is joined by Brandon Metcalf, founder and CEO of Place Technology.

Brandon discusses his experiences as a founder, including the difficulties of preserving the business culture when working remotely, the significance of empathy and flexibility, and the requirement for finding a balance between productivity and burnout prevention. Brandon describes how he built a successful software as a service (SaaS) company, and he stresses the significance of determining whether or not a product is a good fit for the market before beginning to adopt marketing methods. 

Tune in to SaaS Fuel for valuable tips on building a successful SaaS company!

Key Takeaways

[00:00:24 – Discussion on the challenges of maintaining company culture while working remotely and the sustainability of remote work.

[00:05:39] – Brandon Metcalf's journey as a founder, including his previous company Talent Rover and his current company Place Technology.

[00:08:15] – While establishing Talent Rover, Brandon Metcalf struggled with financial projections, which inspired Place Technology.

[00:09:01] – Discussion on the evolution of Place Technology, from financial forecasting to revenue recognition and billing, and how it all ties into Salesforce.

[00:10:44] – The challenges of getting finance people to use Salesforce and how they bridged the gap to unify finance and the rest of the business.

[00:17:13] – Emphasizing the importance of finance and sales working together, and how unifying them can lead to a more profitable and successful deal for the company.

[00:21:30] – Brandon explains the significance of finding the right product for the right market, as well as how this realization prompted a transition from outbound to inbound sales.

[00:24:04] – Looking at lost sales to figure out why customers didn't buy and how they could make their product and sales process better.

[00:26:18] – The importance of providing prospects with the ability to research and understand the value of a product before investing time and money.

[00:26:46] – The endless challenges of building a company and the current focus on product-market fit and pipeline.

[00:37:16] – The Cash and Burn Podcast which features stories from founders about their struggles and successes.

[00:40:53] – How to use four different forecasts to plan for different scenarios, including a doomsday plan, in order to guide his team's decision-making.

[00:42:23]  – Cash flow management and how it keeps him sane. Metcalf talks about the weekly cash forecast and the need to ensure payroll is covered.

[00:45:23] – Companies with 25 to 30 employees typically start to see the need for financial forecasting tools like Place. Companies with high volumes of invoices or customer subscriptions may need it sooner.

[00:47:50] -Why Place is built on Salesforce and why all software companies eventually go to Salesforce. Place's sweet spot is mid-size companies and they like to be on the platform that they can grow with.

Tweetable Quotes

“Maintaining a strong company culture while working remotely is like trying to make a sandwich with one hand. It requires more creativity, more intention, virtual team building, digital recognition, and consistent communication. These are all new tools of the trade, but it's no longer about shared physical space but purpose and shared values.” – 00:01:11 Jeff Mains

“If you fix those things and you just let people connect with people then all of a sudden you can have a healthy relationship.” – 00:17:48 Brandon Metcalf

“Finding the combination of those two pieces of what's the role and who is the person is just critical.” – 00:31:12 Brandon Metcalf

 “I personally would not know how to run a business without getting that close to the financials. It's just what makes me tick.” –  00:44:32 Brandon Metcalf

“I've always really run that way where you know I have four basic scenarios in my head…the reason why I have four different plans is just to give some guidance like I'm very much a planner if I don't have a plan I have anxiety.” – 00:40:53 Brandon Metcalf

SaaS Leadership Lessons

  1. Focus on product-market fit before implementing marketing strategies. Reverse-engineer your approach by building a strong technical financial foundation first and then figure out who your buyers are and what value you can provide.
  2. Create a self-led buyer journey, allowing potential customers to educate themselves on the company and its offerings before requesting a demo.
  3. Build a strong leadership team and hire the right people for the job. Trust your team and invest in their success.
  4. Have a plan in place for both profitable and non-profitable businesses, including a doomsday plan for when there is no cash coming in from customers. Granular visibility into the business's financials is crucial for understanding where the business is at and what needs to happen to keep it going.
  5. Implement a financial forecasting tool like Place when your company reaches a certain stage, typically around 25 to 30 employees. This will help keep investors informed and ensure payroll is always covered.

Guest Resources

Brandon Metcalf (Linkedin): https://www.linkedin.com/in/metcalf

Brandon Metcalf (Twitter): https://twitter.com/brandon_metcalf

Place (Twitter): https://twitter.com/PlaceTechnology

Place (Website): https://www.placetechnology.com/

Cash and Burn Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cash-burn/id1633713757

Resources Mentioned

Place (Website): https://www.placetechnology.com/

Cash and Burn Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cash-burn/id1633713757

TalentRover: https://talentrover.com/salesforce

Blueprint Advisory: https://twitter.com/BlueprintAdvPDO

Adecco: https://www.adecco.com/

HubSpot: https://www.hubspot.com/

SalesForce: https://www.salesforce.com/ap/?ir=1

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is sponsored by Champion Leadership Group, the ultimate resource for SaaS founders and C-suite executives to accelerate capital-efficient growth. Unlock your business's potential by leveraging our time-tested SaaS growth toolkit, blueprints, and frameworks designed to help you scale ARR from 7 to 8 and 9 figures. Collaborate with an elite network of SaaS visionaries, celebrate wins, and overcome setbacks together. Prioritize strategic decisions to create profitable growth, premium valuation, and freedom. Elevate your SaaS trajectory with Champion Leadership Group. Learn more at championleadership.com

Small Fish, Big Pond – https://smallfishbigpond.com/ Use the promo code ‘SaaSFuel’

Champion Leadership Group – https://championleadership.com/